How to Soften Hard Water for General Hydroponics


Hard water can literally be the death of your hydroponically grown vegetables and plants. The calcium, magnesium and sodium-rich water can leave mineral deposits that can stunt the growth of your plants, reduce fruit and vegetable yields and cause mineral differences in other areas. However, softening hard water is not difficult.

Step 1

Determine if you have hard water by observing your house. If you have mineral deposits such as scale on your shower, kitchen sink or coffee maker, you probably have hard water.

Step 2

Test your water by dropping liquid soap into a glass of water. If suds are not produced by the fifth drop of liquid soap, you probably have hard water.

Step 3

Check with your municipal water supplier to determine if you have hard water. If you have a well or are otherwise on private water, you can have your water tested by a your local farmer's cooperative or USDA agriculture extension service. Another source for water testing is a local company that sells water treatment equipment.

Step 4

Mix 1 tsp. of baking soda with 5 gallons of water to soften the water before using it in your hydroponic solution.

Tips and Warnings

  • Never use soft water that has passed through a commercial water softener in your liquid nutrient solution. This water will be too salty to use.

Things You'll Need

  • Liquid soap
  • Baking soda
  • 5-gallon bucket


  • Hard Water: To Soften or Not to Soften
  • Hard Water Hardness Calcium Magnesium Water Corrosion Mineral Scale
  • Hydroponics as a Hobby

Who Can Help

  • Hydroponic Solution Basics: A Primer on Nutrients
Keywords: hydroponic systems, pre mixed nutrient solutions, hard water

About this Author

After 10 years experience in writing, Tracy S. Morris has countless articles and two novels to her credit. Her work has appeared in national magazines and newspapers, including "Ferrets" and "CatFancy," as well as the "Lexington Herald Leader" and "The Tulsa World," and several websites.